This reflection isn’t for those who anticipate the perfect Thanksgiving.
It’s written for those of us who are celebrating and hurting in some way. It’s written to help us find hope in what is often the mixture of emotions holiday meals stir up.
It hit me like a ton of bricks.
I was thinking about Thanksgiving tomorrow.
How many of us will be gathered around a table with friends and family. How it might look Norman Rockwell-ish from a silent window.
But we know it’s not.
Flooded with gratefulness one minute then washed away with doubt and fear the next.
Some thorn pressing in. Loneliness or longing or grief or frustration or fear or uncertainty or anxiety or anger or a hybrid.
Each of us will sit down with some degree of Melancholy.
The feeling may sit next to us as a close companion.
Or it may rap on the door of our consciousness like an uninvited guest.
I imagine this is how Jesus felt when he sat down the night of his last Passover.
He sat at the table, sharing a meal with friends and family.
He had things brewing inside of him no one could see or understand.
I imagine he was flooded with gratefulness one minute and washed away by fear and doubt the next.
An imminent thorn pressing in.
Loneliness, longing, grief, frustration, fear, uncertainty, anxiety, anger, a hybrid.
I feel it in his words at the table.
Because he took bread and broke it and blessed it and said, “Take. Eat. This is my body.”
Then he took the one cup they were all sharing. He gave thanks for what was in the cup. Then he passed it around and watched them drink from it one by one.
After they all had a drink from that cup, he told them, “This is my blood. Poured out for new kind of kingdom”
And he didn’t drink any. Said he wouldn’t drink any until another time.
I feel it in his words later that night.
Because he went away to be by himself. He went to ask if things could be different then they were.
He asked his friends to pray for him, but they fell asleep after a heavy meal and plenty of wine.
He fell to the ground and prayed, “Take this cup from me!”
It was the same cup he had watched his friends drink from at dinner.
He didn’t want to drink it.
But still, he was willing to drink it.
Jesus knows what it’s like to be you and to be me.
Sitting at the table when everything isn’t coming up roses. Sitting with people you love and still, people who have hurt you and will hurt you in the future. Maybe even later that night.
Missing what used to be. And still, living bravely with what is.
Wanting things to be different than they are. And still, grateful for so much.
He sits at the table with us.
In both our gratitude and grief; our joy and sorrow; our love and longing.
Hope sits at the table with us.
Let’s pull up an empty chair and leave it there. As a reminder we are never alone.
Let’s break bread and drink from the cup together.
Because it tells us, again and again, there is more.
There is another time.
There is new.
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Also published on Medium.